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Tom Hicks

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameThomas John "Tom"•Hicks
Used nameTom•Hicks
Born11 January 1876 in Birmingham, West Midlands, England (GBR)
Died28 January 1952 in Winnipeg, Manitoba (CAN)
Measurements168 cm / 60 kg
AffiliationsCambridgeport YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
NOC United States

Biography

The first two men to finish in the 1904 Olympic marathon were the English-born Tom Hicks and the French-born Albert Coray. Although they had a European birthplace in common, their occupations could hardly have been more divergent – Hicks was a clown by profession and Coray earned his living as a professional strike-breaker. Tom Hicks had been around the American distance running scene for some years, having finished sixth in Boston in 1900, improving to fifth in 1901 and placing second in 1904. This experience was to stand him in good stead, considering the extreme conditions in which the 1904 Olympic marathon was run. The course was hilly, the temperature was 90° F, there were no watering stations apart from a well at the halfway mark, and the automobiles following the race churned up a great deal of dust. Only the fact that Hicks had been sustained by doses of brandy, egg white, and strychnine during the latter stages of the race enabled him to finish. But his dreams of being champion were shattered when he arrived at Francis Field only to see Fred Lorz being photographed, as the victor, with Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of the President Teddy Roosevelt. It later transpired that Lorz had covered much of the course in an automobile and then claimed that his Olympic “victory” was only a practical joke. The AAU did not share his sense of humor and they immediately banned him (he was later reinstated and won the 1905 Boston Marathon). No more was heard of Hicks as after his ordeal, both physical and mental, he retired on the spot.

Personal Best: Mar – 2-39:04 (1904).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1904 Summer Olympics Athletics USA Tom Hicks
Marathon, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Errata

Previously incorrectly identified by Wilfred Morgan (GBR) as one Thomas James Hicks born 6 May 1872 in Birmingham, but this man died in 1935 in Birmingham and there is no evidence that he ever left England. Birthdate given as 7 Jan 1875 in most sources, but our current birthdate is confirmed by US naturalization papers and WWI draft card. Death date is usually seen as 2 December 1963, but we have not found confirmation to that date. He died outside of USA, probably in Canada.